First Baptist Church, Cobden IL
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
200 South Walker St. Cobden, IL 62920

Study in the Scriptures: Matt Hartline

 
 
 

 

Pondering the Creed with William Perkins
 
God, the Father: His Title
 
     The Apostles’ Creed continues in its affirmation with, “I believe in God, the Father.” Here William Perkins unpacks the term “Father” by title, attribute, and work. For Perkins, the title “Father” is ascribed to God either indefinitely, addressing all three Persons, or particularly, regarding the first Person. Considering the first Person, He is called “Father” because He begets the Son, thus distinguishing Himself from the Son and Spirit. The Father begets the Son: (1) from all eternity; (2) He begets the Son by communicating to Him His whole essence; and (3) He begets the Son in Himself and not forth of Himself.[1] Therefore, to believe in the Father is to be persuaded that the first Person is the Father of Christ, that those in Christ, likewise, have Him as their Father, and that they have a desire to trust in Him forever.[2]
     This belief in the Father drives Perkins to consider six duties. First, because a man’s relationship to the Father is by grace in Christ, he must consider who his father is by nature. Namely Satan. For, “every man by nature is like the devil,” declares Perkins, “natural life without grace is a lively resemblance of the disposition of Satan. Second, as an adopted child, he must labor to know the will of God, and labor to perform continual obedience unto the same. Thirdly, a man must imitate and follow the Father in two ways: (1) he must do good to those who persecute him, and (2) be merciful “to his poor brethren.” Fourthly, he must cast all his cares, even his own life into the care of His Father, trusting that He will provide all that is needed in life and salvation. Fifthly, a man must learn to “bear any cross” with patience, and “always look for deliverance from Him.” Lastly, his life is to be marked by righteousness, holiness, repentance, and newness of life.[3]
     Corresponding to the duties, Perkins gives five consolations for those who have God as their Father. (1) They can take comfort in knowing that they are sons of God: brothers of Christ and fellow heirs with Him. (2) Children of God who possess the endeavor to walk according to God’s Word can know that despite their short-comings, their heavenly Father will never despise him, but is “content and falls to praise his child.” (3) Therefore, the child of God cannot wholly fall away from God’s favor. Although he may displease Him for a time, and bring His anger upon him, the Father’s love remains toward him. (4) As a child of God, he now has “liberty to pray unto Him … [and] freely speak unto God, their Father.” (5) The child of God can with full assurance and comfort know that their heavenly Father will provide all things needful for their body and soul. For from the love of the Father comes gracious love and merciful provision.[4]
 

 


[1] William Perkins, An Exposition of the Symbol, or Creed of the Apostles, The Works of William Perkins Vol. 5, ed. Ryan Hurd (Grand Rapids: MI, Reformation Heritage Books, 2017), 29.
[2] An Exposition of the Symbol, 29.
[3] An Exposition of the Symbol, 29-32.
[4] An Exposition of the Symbol, 33-35.
 
 

 

For the supremacy of Christ in all things,

Brother Matt